Using February Album Writing Month to boost songwriting output

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February 2020 was the first year that I have taken part in FAWM, which stands for February Album Writing Month. Hopefully it won’t be the last! This article discusses how you could use the February Album Writing Month to boost your songwriting output.

FAWM February Album Writing Month

How did I hear about FAWM?

I participate actively on a songwriting website called Muse Songwriters, and one of the members did a post promoting the FAWM website and experience. She commented that a number of people from the Muse website have participated in previous years and that it is good fun. Despite being very busy with work, family, and other writing commitments, I decided to check it out.

What is the basic premise of FAWM?

February Album Writing Month has been running for quite a few years and its objective is to encourage musicians and lyricists to create and post at least 14 songs or lyrics during the month of February. So effectively one every other day, although this year we had the luxury of an additional day due to 2020 being a leap year.

How do you sign up for FAWM and start using it?

I went to the FAWM website, https://fawm.org , and followed the instructions to register on the site. You’ll be asked to create a username and a password, and then there’s a short ‘Artist’s Bio’ section to fill in so that other site users have an idea about who your influences are and what your music-related skills are. All pretty straightforward and quick, and there are no fees to pay.

Lyric Slinger drawing

My experience of using FAWM  to boost my songwriting output

I wasn’t sure whether I could write 14 lyrics in February. As some of you will know from my previous post on New Year Resolutions for Songwriting, I like to set myself lyric writing targets. My usual target is to write 6 new lyrics every month, so 14 was quite a big step up, especially when life was very full of other important commitments. The view I took though was that even if it just motivated me to write 7 or 8 lyrics that would still be more than I usually commit to.

I started strongly, posting four lyrics within the first week. Three of them were brand new, whilst the fourth was a lyric I had started working on in 2019 but decided to return to. However, after that encouraging start, my rate of posting new lyrics really slowed down. I only added two more lyrics in weeks 2 and 3, which meant it looked very unlikely that I would hit my target.

I could have given up at that point but I kept working on lyrics. And seeing others on the FAWM site talking about how they had reached their quota or were closing in on it motivated me to dig deep to add more of my own. The finality of the end of February deadline also helped.

My creativity seemed to really kick into fifth gear in the final week and I started delivering lyric after lyric after lyric. I added 5 in the last two days which finally got me over the line with a few hours to spare!

The lyrics I wrote were called:

  1. Landmines and Lamborghinis
  2. Welcome to the Martian Zone
  3. Ricky
  4. Dead Dad
  5. We All Fall Down
  6. I Wanna Drive You (Race Car)
  7. Down The Bough Broke
  8. Finished
  9. Frantic
  10. Nothing’s Stranger Than Kindness
  11. There’s a Storm Coming
  12. The Peace Inside of Me
  13. Flying Towards Arnhem
  14. Think About You (Six out of every seven seconds)

I also wrote a bonus 15th lyric called ‘Street Fighting Dog’ but decided to keep it back for a lyric writing contest!

 

We all fall down lyrics

We All Fall Down – an example of one of my lyrics

Here’s an example of one of the new lyrics that I created through my participation on the FAWM website. It was my first response to the ‘Transform a nursery rhyme or folk tune’ themed challenge that took place in week 2. The lyric was influenced by the current scare over the Coronavirus, and I linked that to an infamous story from Edinburgh’s distant past. Gripped in the midst of an awful Plague outbreak in 1645, it has been said that a street called Mary King’s Close was closed off (with all its occupants boarded inside) in a desperate attempt to prevent further spread of the disease!

We All Fall Down

(Intro – sung by children)

Ring-a-ring o’roses

A pocket full of posies

A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down


(Verse 1)

Get your disease

It’s going free

Bring out your dead

Mark the doors on each street


(Pre chorus)

Like Mary King’s Close

Let’s board the place up

Three hundred infected

When the gates were shut


(Chorus)

There’s a new kid in town

Currently undefeated,

Bringer of death

Yeah, you better believe it.

Float like a butterfly

Sting like a viper’s bite,

The bodies are piling up

But he’s just whet his appetite,

And we all fall down

We all fall down!!!

We all fall downnnn!!!!


(Verse 2)

Get your disease

It’s on a killin’ spree

Hanging in the air

Spreading wild and free


(Pre chorus)

Like Mary King’s Close

Let’s board the streets up

Three hundred infected

When the gates were shut


(Chorus)

There’s a new kid in town

Remaining undefeated,

Bringer of death

Yeah, you better believe it.

Float like a butterfly

Sting like a viper’s bite,

The bodies are piling up

But he’s just whet his appetite,

And we all fall down

We all fall down!!!

We all fall downnnn!!!!


(Outro)

Ring-a-ring o’roses

A pocket full of posies

A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down!


Written by Simon Wright

(February 2020)

 

Image of a person holding up a question mark

Things I will do differently next year

It was really difficult to get to my total of 14 posted lyrics this year, and the main reason was lack of time. And that shortage of time also meant that I wasn’t able to interact with other FAWM participants as much as I would have liked or should have done.

I would have liked to have been more active in the FAWM Forums, and to have followed more people, listened to more of their songs, commented on more of their lyrics. I also saw some examples where musicians and lyric writers teamed up to create songs, and that would have been very cool to have explored more.

Three of the new lyrics I wrote this year were inspired by the weekly themes that were posted, which were ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Transform a nursery rhyme or folk tune’, ‘Inanimate object’, and ‘Finishing something’. I wrote two lyrics that were inspired by the transform a nursery rhyme challenge, and one that was inspired by the Finishing something theme. It would be cool next year to generate at least one lyric for each of the weekly themes.

I shall also try to pace myself better so my ability to reach the 14 songs target doesn’t come down to such a frantic last week effort!

FAWM
FAWM – February Album Writing Month

How you can participate in February Album Writing Month

Whilst the February Album Writing Month challenge (unsurprisingly) ends at the end of February, you can still register on the site all year around. They also have a Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/theFAWM/ , that is also active all year round.

You can also bookmark the FAWM website as one of your Favourites, and maybe create a diary reminder note. I’ve also been told that there is a http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/ website that’s a similar, longer, challenge from July to October, which may be worth checking out!

Good luck if you do decide to participate next year. If you do, then hopefully we can see and comment on each other’s songs and lyrics in February 2020!

 

2 Comments


  1. I have a question for you ,will you please give me some
    feedback on if you will.

    Reply

    1. Hi Ricky,
      Thanks for getting in touch. Sure, if you let me know what you’d like feedback on, then I’ll see if I can help. 🙂

      Reply

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